Former Pennsylvania Senator, Fox News Contributor, and current Republican Presidential candidate Rick Santorum finished within eight votes of Mitt Romney in the Iowa Caucus. The media anointed him front-runner status.
How has Mr. Santorum handled this new title?
Not so well.
First there was this statement about how he wanted keep black people from getting welfare prior to the Iowa Caucus:
When it comes to welfare recipients, 70% are white people.
Let’s see how he did when he was confronted about his anti-gay record. Remember this guy once equated a man marrying another man to a man marrying his dog. Maybe his views have changed since he expressed those opinions…
Well, younger people are very open towards LGBT Rights. What about an older crowd?
Ah, here is Rachel Maddow confronting him on his views on birth control:
This does not bode well for him…
Mr. Santorum finished in third place in New Hampshire. It may look like that he is no longer the contender, but Santorum may be getting a bump to his campaign though it might not be enough to stop the Romney machine.
Major conservative policy supporters recently met at a ranch in Brenham, Texas to decide which candidate not named Mitt Romney to back going into the South Carolina Primary. This is an important race. Since 1980, the winner has gone on to win the Republican Party nomination. They didn’t choose any of the candidates from Texas (Perry, Paul), or Newt Inc. They supposedly settled on Santorum who has his own share of problems as highlighted above.
With these videos clips, Santorum represents the social conservative wing of the party. It appears that the Republican Party is still split over the presumptive nominee Mitt Romney, who represents the business sector of the party and the rest of the field. Yes, Romney has won the first two contests and has the lead in delegates, but if you total his votes from those contests it comes out to 34.4%. According to Gallup’s daily tracker, he is at 37%. That doesn’t scream front runner status.
With the South Carolina Primary coming up this Saturday it is going to be interesting about the impact the social conservative movement will have. As shown in Iowa, of those that participated in an exit poll conducted by the Associate Press 57% identified as Evangelical or born-again Christian. Santorum won those that identified as such with 32% of the vote. South Carolina has some of those similar religious demographics that Iowa has.
Jon Huntsman said in his concession speech on Monday that it was time for Republicans to back one candidate, BUT I am not so certain that they are ready to back Mitt Romney. This Republican field of candidates is like the AFC West in this recent NFL season. Yeah, Denver won their playoff game, but did anyone expect them to get past Pittsburgh? What about them staying within 14 points of New England?
Denver, San Diego, and Oakland finished at 8-8. Kansas City finished at 7-9. Denver won the division on the basis of tie breakers over San Diego and Oakland. The only advantage that those teams had was as a division winner they were going to play their playoff game at home. Other than that all those teams had serious flaws, much like the 2012 Republican Field, which made it impossible to pick them for a deep playoff run let alone winning a playoff game.
The statements that Santorum has made regarding black people, LGBTs, and reproductive rights may work within the Republican nomination process, but how well do these statements work with the general public? Not too well as shown in those clips from New Hampshire.
The spotlight is too bright for him. It is time to pull him off stage and dismiss him as presidential material.
Whoever does win the Republican Nomination, they are going to have to answer to some of the statements that they made while campaigning for their party’s nomination. Whoever that person is, it is going to be difficult to back track on those statements.
And if that nominee thinks the spotlight is bright now… wait until the general campaign in September.